Monthly Archives: August 2022

TVD Radar: APB, Something to Believe In reissue in stores 11/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Liberation Hall Records today announces the start of a worldwide catalog campaign with the Scottish post-punk dance band APB. The deal will include physical rights for the band’s first two studio albums and two compilations. Distribution will be handled by MVD Entertainment Group.

The launch begins with the November 18 multi-format release of APB’S first singles compilation, Something to Believe In. Originally issued in 1985 by New York-based Link Records, the ten-song title was perceived at the time to be APB’s debut album although it was actually a compilation drawn from the band’s previous eight independent singles. The band’s 1981 debut single, “Chain Reaction,” will be added as a bonus track to the vinyl release, while that song and an additional five tracks will appear on the expanded edition CD and download. “Danceability” will appear in its original mix on the vinyl LP, while the CD will feature the song in its extended “Danceability Parts 1 & 2” form.

In 1979, APB was formed in the small rural town of Aberdeen, Scotland. Taking inspiration from the D.I.Y. (“Do It Yourself”) spirit of punk rock, teenagers Iain Slater (singer, bassist), Glenn Roberts (guitar), and George Cheyne (drums) rehearsed relentlessly and signed with local independent Oily Records at the dawn of the 1980s. The band’s trademark post-punk dance rhythms were there from the start, with debut single “Shoot You Down” crackling with serrated guitar and Slater’s native vocal inflections. APB was in lock step with similarly militaristic dance factions of the time—Gang of Four, Au Pairs, Delta 5—but their own music was more celebratory and inclusive. Everyone was invited to an APB party.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dirt Does Dylan
& V/A, Bob Dylan Uncovered, Vol. 3

Bob Dylan may be the most covered artist of the rock era, although the combined covers of songs written collectively by John Lennon and Paul McCartney would certainly give him a run for his money. Two recent collections of Dylan covers are about as good as it gets, and in many instances, come at his songs from a similar stylistic point of view.

Dirt Does Dylan is the first NGDB album since 2009’s Speed of Life, the last album for original member John McEuen. Original members Jeff Hanna and Jimmie Fadden are still on board for this new album and Bob Carpenter has been in the band since 1979. Jaime Hanna, Jeff’s son, is now a member. The group’s recording career began back in 1967.

This album has a very organic feel, as if it was mostly recorded live, or with few takes or overdubs. There’s a very sparse country feel and the group makes many of the songs all its own. “Girl From the North Country,” from the 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, has a very mournful feel and the group really nails it. “Country Pie,” from Nashville Skyline from 1969, has old-time music overtones and one could imagine that if Bob Dylan heard this cover, it would put a smile on his face.

“I Shall Be Released,” best known from the Music From Big Pink version from The Band, but which was included on the 1971 Bob Dylan Greatest Hits Vol. II album, features Larkin Poe. Like “Forever Young,” which appeared on Planet Waves in 1974, it eschews a weighty arrangement and can be listened to in a new light.

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Graded on a Curve:
Bob Welch,
French Kiss

Remembering Bob Welch, born on this day in 1945.Ed.

Climb aboard my pleasure craft, ye mateys, and I’ll tell you a tale of a true Yacht Rock captain. In 1977 former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch cast off on his debut LP French Kiss, and sailed bravely into the upper reaches of the American Top 40. It was a voyage worthy of Ferdinand Magellan, or that guy who discovered America.

You don’t hear much of Welch outside of SiriusXM’s Yacht Rock Radio these days, and I have a hard time imagining an actual human being walking into a record store with the express purpose of buying French Kiss. But he was a very big deal in the late seventies, when such songs as “Sentimental Lady” and “Ebony Eyes” (featuring the immortal Juice Newton!) won Welch his admiral stripes, alongside other Yacht Rock giants as Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Pablo Cruise, who are actually four guys but who’s counting?

Where to start with Welch? Well, he’s not as much of a Yacht rocker as you might think. “Sentimental Lady” certainly falls into the category, but on the rest of French Kiss he melds hard rock riffs to disco beats and drops a lot of strings on you, and the formula works better than you think it would.

For the most part these songs are good pop fun, and as catchy as they are utterly disposable; The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau dismissed them as “aural chic” as good a soundtrack for doing your ironing as the Doobie Brothers, but I think he’s just being a meanie. I’m sure you’d have to look hard to find a Brooklyn hipster who will give French Kiss his imprimatur, but that says more about Brooklyn hipsters than it does about the album.

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TVD Radar: T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit from Lloyd Sachs new in paperback, in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | A revealing inside look at the brilliant producer’s work with Los Lobos, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Elton John and Counting Crows—and the making of his bestselling soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Just in time for Americanafest, here is the paperback edition of Lloyd Sachs’ T Bone Burnett: A Life in Pursuit. The first critical appreciation of Burnett, the book reveals how the driving force behind the Americana movement and the producer of a Who’s Who of great artists has profoundly influenced American music and culture. “A definitive portrait,” declared MOJO. “A much-needed critical biography of an influential artist by a superior critic of the genre,” proclaimed Library Journal in a starred review.

Renowned as a studio maven with a Midas touch, Burnett is known for lifting artists to their greatest heights, as he did with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss via their multiple Grammy-winning recording Raising Sand and the Bodeans via Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams. Burnett virtually invented “Americana” with his hugely successful roots-based soundtrack for the Coen Brothers’ film, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which sold more than 8 million albums. Outspoken in his contempt for the profit-fixated entertainment industry, Burnett has nevertheless received many of its highest honors, including Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.

Sachs highlights all the important aspects of Burnett’s musical pursuits including his early days as a member of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, his founding of the Alpha Band and his own acclaimed efforts as a singer-songwriter, including Truth Decay and The Criminal Under His Own Hat. Sachs examines Burnett’s collaborations with the great playwright Sam Shepard, U2, and blues legend Willie Dixon and his musical contributions to lauded TV shows such as Nashville and True Detective.

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Graded on a Curve: Martha Spencer, Wonderland

Living in Whitetop in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Martha Spencer is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and with Wonderland, a deft collaborator. Combining traditional songs and her own compositions with no fluctuations in quality, those 16 selections are stylistically wide-ranging and yet focused, powerful yet inviting, and with the playing and singing sharp throughout. Additionally, there’s a consistent ease in execution that never gets too laid back, or too smooth, or too florid. Issued on double vinyl and compact disc, it’s a fine sophomore effort, out September 2 through Martha Spencer Music.

Martha Spencer opens Wonderland with an abundance of verve, singing in the title track like a honky-tonk gal that got hooked into cutting singles for Decca in the early ’60s, but without a trace of the middle-of-the-road-isms that big time labels saddled upon country singers back in the day; instead of syrup, there’s the spoons of Abby Roach, Joel Selvin’s robust fiddle, just a hint of Eddy-esque twang at the start, and a “boop-a-doop-a-doop” from Spencer that establishes the sense of fun in her approach.

But with Spencer’s crisp banjo plucking and warm harmonies, “Rags to Riches” quickly highlights the artist’s serious side, though don’t misapprehend that she’s dour. It’s a seriousness directly related to a background in traditional Appalachian music, as Spencer is part of the family-based Whitetop Mountain Band, amongst other outfits and projects.

That trad foundation is reflected in the sturdy string bass and chiming mandolin in “Bank of New River,” and in the guest vocals of Luke Bell in that track and Alice Gerrard in the following cut, the up-tempo “Come Home Virginia Rose.” Interestingly, every tack on the record thus far is a Spencer original, with her first foray into cover interpretation not a piece from the public domain (those will arrive on Wonderland soon enough) but Lee Hazlewood’s “Summer Wine,” with the rough depth of Kyle Dean Smith’s resonating cords so much like Hazlewood that it’s uncanny.

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In rotation: 8/31/22

UAE | Forever vinyl: Will LPs stay in the UAE? Digital music may be swallowed by the masses, but traditional formats continue to resonate with audiophiles of all ages. Dubai-based expats Anil Sukhia and Reyshiel Pastrana belong to very different generations, but are connected by a shared passion for vinyl collecting. One is a banker in his 60s and the other is a video editor in his 20s. Both were growing music lovers who fell in love with “long-running” records, or LPs for the layman. The Retail Tracker report provides positive insight into global record sales, a clear indication that musical masterpieces like Michael Jackson’s thriller or Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon have made a strong comeback in their original headshots. As a result, the ubiquitous record player has reappeared in living rooms and music stores around the world, including in the UAE.

Vinyl can go green but records will cost more: A pioneer of environmentally friendly vinyl records says his new pressing machines are less dangerous to the planet than traditional ones – but they’ll likely lead to a price increase. The resurgence of vinyl in recent years followed the closure of many legacy pressing plants due to lack of business. That’s meant long lines for those who want their music to be available in the format. Even the world’s most famous acts are being told to wait up to a year for vinyl editions. The traditional method uses polyvinyl chloride, which the BBC says was identified in a new report as “the most environmentally damaging of plastics.” The updated version of this technology is constructed of polyethylene terephthalate, a less harmful and easily recyclable material.

Candid Records reissues classic 1961 albums: The New York City-based record label Candid Records has re-released a number of classic Black albums. Founded in 1960 by Archie Bleyer, Candid was on the cutting edge of releasing jazz and blues music from Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Cecil Taylor, Abbey Lincoln, Lightnin’ Hopkins and more. The label’s catalog is extensive and, due to the resurgence of vinyl and interest in jazz, Candid has chosen to re-issue albums from their golden era which took place primarily in 1961 and 1962. Max Roach’s “We Insist!,” Max Roach – 1961: An avant-garde masterpiece, a vocal-instrumental suite, a work of collective improvisation, directly addressing the racial and political issues of its day, “We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite” is one of the most important artistic statements of the Civil Rights Movement and one of the most groundbreaking jazz albums of all time…

John Williams’ E.T. score gets 40th anniversary vinyl release: Back in 1982, a lost little alien and an 8-year-old boy met on screen and became best friends. And the collective hearts of the world melted. When Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial hit theaters, a timeless classic was born, one we still love decades later. And a big part of that movie’s success was the incredible score by master composer John Williams. And now, the folks at Mondo are releasing a special 40th-anniversary edition of Williams’ iconic score for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in a new vinyl edition. Much like his music for Star Wars and Indiana Jones, it’s hard to imagine the film without instantly thinking of Williams’ music. …It’s pressed on 180-gram vinyl in “Full Moon” and “Heartlight” colorways (also available on 180-gram black vinyl).

Best budget turntables 2022: Our pick of the best cheap record players: You don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to buying a new turntable – and to help, we’ve picked out some of the best budget record players around. Despite the popularity of music streaming sites which dominate the way most of us consume music these days, vinyl sales are continuing to rise as more and more of us look at owning a physical product rather than staring at a digital file stored on phones, laptops or on the cloud. And with a the demand for vinyl steadily increasing, that means more music fans are looking to get their hands on record players – including the best budget turntables on the market. That makes sense as we’re all having to watch our outgoings a little bit more carefully at the moment, and with some turntables on the market costing a considerable amount, I’ve decided to turn my attention to picking out some of the best cheap record players around. These will not only save you a bundle, but they all sound fantastic and are all worth a closer look.

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TVD Live Shots: iDKHOW, Joywave,
and Savannah Conley
at the Metro, 8/25

The Welcome to Hellvetica Tour kicked off Thursday night in Chicago, IL at the Metro to a room full of colorful fans. Lined up hours before doors were slated to open, the fans for co-headliners Joywave and iDKHOW spent the time between grabbing onto the barricade to listening to the first note ring, discussing possible set lists, and how crazy they were going to go when their favorite songs were played.

Crooner Savannah Conley provided her sweet, melodic tunes to warm up the crowd and get the mood set right. She was the perfect mix of mellow and energetic to awaken the audience after a day of work and school, yet prepared for the dancing that was about to occur.

Half of a Corvette with an Illinois license plate reading “JOYWAVE” is put on the stage, along with all the respective instruments that are about to be played. The lights go down and five men wearing mechanic jumpsuits walk on stage, but these men aren’t actually mechanics; the music starts and it’s revealed that the mechanics are actually Joywave! The crowd goes wild as “Coming Apart” opens the set.

The indie rockers rolled through their 15 song set with a live debut of “Pray for the Reboot” from their recently released fourth album Cleanse, the Euphoria popularized “Dangerous,” and lead singer Daniel Armbruster‘s quarantine side project Best Frenz track “Ugly Ending.” The crowd is reeling while Joywave plays their encore.

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TVD Radar: Stone Temple Pilots, Core
4LP 30th anniversary edition in stores 9/23

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Stone Temple Pilots immediately established themselves as rock and roll heavyweights with the release of their debut album Core in 1992. Thirty years later, the album is a certified classic that continues to dominate the rock radio airwaves with timeless rock anthems including “Sex Type Thing,” “Creep,” and “Wicked Garden.” Core peaked at #3 on the Billboard album chart and has been certified 8x Platinum by the RIAA. The band also took home the GRAMMY® Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for their smash single “Plush.”

To commemorate 30 years of Core, Run Out Groove, Warner Music’s specialty vinyl imprint, will release an exclusive 4-LP deluxe edition of the iconic album. Available September 23, Core: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition features the original album as a 2-LP set, plus two additional LPs featuring 18 demos and live performances which are making their vinyl debut. The deluxe edition comes in a hardbound slipcase featuring an exclusive poster of the album art. Core: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available for pre-order now.

Stone Temple Pilots (guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo, drummer Eric Kretz, and vocalist Scott Weiland) debuted with Core in the fall of 1992 and by the following summer were one of the biggest rock bands on the scene, powered by exhilarating live shows and a string of now-classic songs from the album.

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Needle Drop: The KVB, Unity

Meeting at Goldmiths, University of London back in 2011, vocalist/ keyboardist/ visual artist Kat Day joined singer/ songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood’s solo project that was gaining traction. Since their first LP Always Then (2012) and a couple of releases on Anton Newcombe’s label A Recordings—the minimalist electronic duo The KVB have carved out their own space in the underground scene.

Married during the pandemic in a 14th-century castle in North Yorkshire and filled with changing perspectives, Unity is a departure in sound for the cold wave duo. Mixed and produced by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, The Killers, and Goldfrapp), Unity is the first album where they brought in a producer to augment their home studio recordings. Early writing sessions took place in Spain where the duo was provoked by despondent half-built luxury villas sitting vacant by the 2007-2008 global financial crisis.

The album is a kaleidoscope of bright synths interlaced with post-punk chords and breathy vocal duets. The visual name of Unity’s first track, “Sunrise Over Concrete,” captures the album’s feel and sonic imprint of dystopian renewal. Out on Invada Records, Unity looks towards the future.

After wrapping up the first leg of their North American tour, The KVB will play a few more US tour dates and international festivals.

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UK Artist of the Week: Fiza

Emerging indie-soul singer Fiza proves she’s one to watch with the release of her sun-soaked debut single “Pieces,” out now.

With a voice like velvet and a melody that could melt butter, what’s not to love about Fiza’s fabulous debut single. Fans of the likes of Amy Winehouse and Corrine Bailey Rae will feel at home here.

Talking about the single, Fiza explains, “‘Pieces’ is about the difficulties in trying to piece yourself and your life back together whilst going through the trials and tribulations of life and what it throws at you. It is about reminding yourself you are stronger than you give yourself credit for and you can help guide yourself into a future you are comfortable with.”

Fiza is from North West London but currently living in Edinburgh and already a regular fixture on the Scottish live scene.

“Pieces” is in stores now via Intarsia Records.

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Graded on a Curve:
David Blue,
Stories

David Blue had an eventful if largely under the radar career as a singer-songwriter and actor; most people likely know him, or better said, know of his achievements, through the composition “Outlaw Man,” which was recorded by the Eagles. Starting in 1966, he cut a string of albums, and for a while, each one was more interesting than its predecessor, a climb in quality that apexed with Stories, his 1971 set for Asylum Records, an LP as worthwhile as its sales were poor. On September 2, the Eremite label detours from their avant-jazz norm with a well-deserved reissue on 120 gram vinyl in a retro flipback jacket and with an insert featuring Leonard Cohen’s 1982 eulogy for the man.

Born Stuart David Cohen in 1941, David Blue died of a heart attack in 1982 while jogging in Central Park. Although never himself a star, he ran in the circles of musical celebrity, befriending Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, with the latter association especially notable, as Blue’s self-titled 1966 debut for Elektra is very much a knock-off of Dylan’s budding folk-rock mode.

Far from a vapid hanger-on, later in his career Blue joined the Rolling Thunder Revue, with his participation landing him in Dylan’s sprawling and legendarily hard-to-see cinematic epic Renaldo and Clara, which briefly hit (a few) theaters in 1978 and hasn’t seen a legit release since. Blue’s appearance in Renaldo and Clara was essentially a documentary riff, but he was an actual actor in both Wim Wenders’ ’77 neo-noir The American Friend, and Neil Young’s harder to classify Human Highway, which was released in ’82, shortly after Blue’s death.

Returning to the discography, David Blue is a Dylan knock-off, but highly accomplished one, with a couple of gems in the category of imitative Bob-ishness (“So Easy She Goes By” and “I’d Like to Know”), but his 1968 follow-up These 23 Days in September was a more impressive affair in how it reinforced his acumen as songwriter and broadened the landscape of similarities, with a few moments reminiscent of Leonard Cohen (amid a lingering likeness to Dylan). His third LP and second of two for Reprise, Me, released in 1970 under the name S. David Cohen, branched out into country-folk territory.

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In rotation: 8/30/22

Stoke-on-Trent, UK | The best-ever record stores in North Staffordshire as chosen by you: Remember the listening booths at Sherwins? Once a rite of passage for all Potteries teenagers, plenty of grown-ups still hold fond memories of the record shop. Whether it was going in with your mates to pick up the latest chart hit, talking all things music with the staff, or hoping to find some imports with those rare B-sides, these places are linked with the best times of our lives. Today, it’s all too easy to download and stream music. Great for the wallet, not so much for the sense of discovery you get while flicking through racks upon racks of vinyls or CDs. In our recent survey, we asked about your favourite record shops in Stoke-on-Trent, past or present. Take a look at the names that came up below. If a particular shade of blue gives you a warm feeling, the name Mike Lloyd Music will spark some recognition. It was the most popular name in our survey results, with branches in Hanley and Newcastle, as well as a few further afield.

Salem, OR | Trio hopes to prove Salem isn’t “So Lame” with new record store: When Doug Kuzmanoff moved to Salem almost a decade ago, his first stop was at Ranch Records. Coming to the city from Chicago, Kuzmanoff knew the store would be his best bet for meeting like-minded people to chat about bands and plug into the local music scene. So when Ranch closed its doors in 2020, Kuzmanoff started talking with some friends. “I don’t want to live in a town without a record store,” Joshua Blanchard, Kuzmanoff’s bandmate, remembered thinking. And thus, So Lame Records was born. The tiny storefront at 231 High Street N.E. opened in early August with Kuzmanoff, Blanchard, and Andrea Jenkins running the show. The name came from the constant refrain the trio has heard that Salem is “so lame” compared to Portland, particularly for its music scene. “There’s a distaste for Salem, so let’s capitalize on it…”

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX | This New Barbershop Has Hot Shaves, Free Whiskey and Vinyl: Your one-stop shop in DFW. …“I want to keep that local barbershop feel, with camaraderie and people interacting and chatting,” he says. “I think when you get to 15 chairs and up, it’s more a cattle call and less of a boutique experience.” Part of that experience includes a selection of complimentary whiskeys and beers offered to each guest when they walk in. Music will be playing on the record player, and old-school movies will play on the large TV. Barbers are happy to talk sports or current events, if that’s what customers want. But when booking services, you can select the “quiet card,” which lets your barber know you prefer to relax and enjoy some downtime.

Marquette, WI | The beginning of a new chapter: Lilliput Records Grand Opening: The Exclusive Company record store officially closed its doors to the public on July 28. Music-lovers around Milwaukee thought that this would be the end of this east side record store, but really, it is just the beginning of a new chapter. August 19 marked the official grand opening of Lilliput Records on the east side of Milwaukee. Owners Tanner Musgrove and Brian Kirk began as employees of the Exclusive Company, but upon hearing the news that the record store was closing for good, the two made a pact to keep the store going. Musgrove and Kirk crowdfunded in order to purchase the Exclusive Company’s inventory and to keep the same storefront building. Their goal was to preserve the dream of Exclusive Company founder and president, James “Mr. G” Giombetti.

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TVD Live Shots: Soft Cell at YouTube Theater, 8/24

Fans of ’80s synthpop were in for a special treat Wednesday night when Soft Cell dropped by the YouTube Theater in Inglewood, California for one of their first stateside shows in over 20 years. Best known for their hits “Tainted Love” and “Say Hello Wave Goodbye,” Marc Almond and company put on an amazing 2-hour show that had the packed house singing and dancing all night long. 

I’ve been a Soft Cell fan for the better part of my life and was thrilled to hear earlier this year that Marc Almond and David Ball would be once again joining forces to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. Synthpop aficionados and ’80s nerds like me understand the importance of this album, and to see it performed live in its entirety would be a dream come true. That happened on Wednesday night. One caveat however, Ball was unable to join Marc Almond on stage as part of the US tour due to doctors’ orders due to ongoing physiotherapy. Traveling was just not in the cards. While disappointing (to say the least), the show went on with their full touring band including Grammy winning producer Philip Larson filling in on keyboards for David.

For those in attendance, there was no opening band—Wednesday’s performance was unapologetically 100% Soft Cell. Act I featured ten songs including new tracks, B-sides, and classics alike. Marc Almond bookended the first set with two Soft Cell tracks including “Torch” and “Martin.” Both were beautifully recreated and sounded amazing. However, my favorites from this set were two newer tracks, “Bruises on All My Illusions” and “Nostalgia Machine.” If you weren’t paying attention, you would have never known that these songs were just released in May of 2022 off their latest album, Happiness Not Included. They sounded so good and had that vintage Soft Cell sound we all know and love.

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TVD Live: The Decemberists with
Jake Xerxes Fussell
at Wolf Trap, 8/24

The Decemberists, the charming chamber folk-rock band from out of Portlandia, became famous for live performances as elaborate and detailed as their ornate songs, staging obscure battles or sea scenes with sudden appearances by man-eating whales into their shows.

There was none of that Wednesday as the band took the stage at Wolf Trap in Virginia, two years after they were originally supposed to play there, during the time when everything disappeared. The title of the current excursion, “Arise from the Bunkers! 2022” was just about the most florid part of the tour. It was enough to be present, at long last, alive and performing before thousands of fans in the Virginia woods, even as they have given up for now the costumed accessories or even the notion of promoting any particular release — I’ll Be Your Girl, their eighth full length album, came out a full four years ago now.

But certainly the audience had no complaints about their straightforward approach to their solid, 17-song, 105 minute show. The band has been sprinkling its sets this summer with selections from throughout its career (though sadly, nothing from 2015’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World). “Hope you like the old ones,” said frontman Colin Meloy, as keyboardist Jenny Conlee strapped on her accordion and Chris Funk sat down to the pedal steel guitar for “Shiny,” the oldest song from their repertoire, from an an album that was mostly demos before they had a full recording contract. They followed it, though, with a new song, about meeting someone at a burial ground.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Celebrating Anton Newcombe, born on this day in 1967.Ed.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe may produce great music, but his true vocation is self-sabotage. Not a good strategy for career advancement, mind, but as anyone who’s watched Dig! will tell you, career advancement is hardly at the top of the list of his priorities.

Over the course of his long career he’s preferred to abuse drugs, start on-stage brawls with his own bandmates, kick hecklers at his live shows in the face, and say awful things about his elders. (“What has he ever done,” he said about Eric Clapton, “except throw his baby off a fuckin’ ledge and write a song about it?”) And talk about alienating the very people who can make him a star; I saw him at a SXSW showcase a long way back and he opened the show with the announcement, “If there are any record label reps out there, fuck off!”

As those who love Newcombe the musician as opposed to Newcombe the suicide bomber will tell you, it’s a crying shame. Because the Brian Jonestown Massacre have no equal when it comes to making neo-psychedelic music. There are those who will tell you the Brian Jonestown Massacre are a one-trick pony. It’s not true. While they are best known for their retro-psychedelia—“Going to Hell” may well be the greatest Monkees song ever written—they do plenty more.

And even if they were a one-trick pony, the trick’s a great one. How many bands with dozens of tricks up their sleeves have written songs equaling “Straight Up and Down,” “Anemone,” and “Sailor”? Not many. And the sad irony is that it’s these bands you’ll find headlining rock festivals.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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